Spa-Francorchamps 2009 Quotes from the Spa press conference GT1 RACE WINNERS : NR 4 PK CARSPORT CORVETTE Z06 Mike Hezemans, nr 4 PK Racing Corvette Z.06, 1st: "That was really nice -- now I have won this race twice, so that's better. It's...
Quotes from the Spa press conference
GT1 RACE WINNERS : NR 4 PK CARSPORT CORVETTE Z06
Mike Hezemans, nr 4 PK Racing Corvette Z.06, 1st: "That was really nice -- now I have won this race twice, so that's better. It's even better because it means we are in the lead of the Championship, although only by a single point. It was a very hard race, especially the first fifteen hours, when the gap was only 15 seconds, it was unbelievable. We pushed a lot; we were driving at maybe 95% of what we could, so maybe that's where our luck came from at the end. We had no problems at all, at our pit-stops we just needed fuel and tyres. It's how you want a 24-hour race to be, although it rarely happens that way."
Jos Menten, nr 4 PK Racing Corvette Z.06, 1st: "This is a great result -- I'm really happy that I could drive for PK Racing, and with Mike, Anthony and Kurt. This is my first FIA GT Championship win, and winning a 24-hour race is always nice, so I'm really happy. I drove twice in the night, and it was night; for the first stint I was on slicks in damp weather, and it was a great call from Anthony to come in and switch to slicks, which gave us a big advantage. For the second stint it seemed like the three lead cars spent an entire hour within a second of each other. It went well, and I was happy."
Anthony Kumpen, nr 4 PK Racing Corvette Z.06, 1st: "I always felt that this race was missing from my CV as a Belgian driver, so I'm very happy to have put that right. I have won all the other Belgian races there are, including the 24 Hours of Zolder; I've won so many Belgian GT races I can't even remember them all, but this one was always missing. The main thing here was driving for our Championship campaign, Mike and myself. I want to say a big thank you to Jos and Kurt for helping because they did a perfect job. They didn't make any mistakes, which is the most important, and they drove within themselves. The next race will be really tough, because we will be carrying 100kg of ballast, so it will be incredibly difficult -- that's a heavy load. Until now the Maserati has been a bit faster than our car, and I think it would have been really difficult if they hadn't made any mistakes. But still, we've seen this weekend what can happen, and we are here to fight them."
Kurt Mollekens, nr 4 PK Racing Corvette Z.06, 1st: "Finally I've won this race -- I've had a few podiums, but not the win. I was anxious to get this, so I'm happy to have bagged it. Personally I've driven better races than this one, but I'll take the victory!"
2ND IN GT1 : NR 33 VITAPHONE RACING TEAM DHL MASERATI MC 12
Alessandro Pier Guidi, nr 33 Vitaphone Racing Team DHL Maserati MC12, 2nd: "I'm very happy because it was an incredible race right from the beginning -- everyone was pushing right from the start, fighting like it was a two-hour race. I was second last year with Vitaphone, now I am second again -- I hope to improve one place next year!"
Stephane Lemeret, nr 33 Vitaphone Racing Team DHL Maserati MC12, 2nd: "I don't think the team was expecting the nr 33 car to take this result, but they had some bad luck with the other two cars. I think we all did a good job, and I want to thank my team-mates."
Vincent Vosse, nr 33 Vitaphone Racing Team DHL Maserati MC12, 2nd: "It's been a long time since I've been on the podium here at Spa, not since 2005. Vitaphone Racing did a great job -- the car was great to drive, which was important because it's not always easy to just jump into an unfamiliar car and race it. Alessandro did a great job, and Stephane did an excellent job in the wet while he was really fighting for the lead. I really enjoyed the race."
3RD IN GT1 : NR 35 NISSAN MOTORSPORTS NISSAN GT-R
Michael Krumm, nr 35 Nissan Motorsport Nissan GT-R, 3rd: "We are really pleased to have achieved this result -- our initial target was simply to reach the finish. Nissan brought the GT-R to Europe, and wanted to introduce the car to the world; this is a great stage to do that. It was really important for us to see the chequered flag and there was a lot of pressure on everyone. It all looked really good until this morning when we had a few little troubles; luckily we could fix them and could continue to the end of the race. The car handled very well, and everything was perfect apart from those minor problems. I want to thank my team-mates for driving absolutely on the limit all the time and without any mistakes; at times it was crazy out there, and I don't think we went off track once."
Darren Turner, nr 35 Nissan Motorsport Nissan GT-R, 3rd: "This is a great result, and I loved it. Conditions were changeable- we had sunshine, heavy rain and fog, and that's what makes Spa so special. I think every driver loves it, it's one of those places which is just as much fun in the rain as it is in the dry. From the team's perspective it was great to get the car to the finish. I really enjoyed myself, and I'm sure my team-mates did. The team did a fantastic job in the pit-stops, and a great job handling the minor dramas and getting the car back on track. We're here to put more miles on the car, to gain more knowledge of the car, to work out how to make it faster and to show that it is competitive, and I think we've achieved all of those goals."
Anthony Davidson, nr 35 Nissan Motorsport Nissan GT-R, 3rd: "It's been really good being here -- I'd like to say thank you for everyone involved for making this such a special event. I also want to thank Nismo, Nissan and the Gigawave Motorsport team for giving me this opportunity. I'm keen to keep my racing up as much as I can, and this is my first podium since 2003, so it's fantastic -- the first trophy I've won in a long, long time! Seriously, it's great for me to keep racing -- we all live to be behind the wheel, not to be commentating on a race or a reserve driver. Personally it's very good, and I really want to thank everyone involved in the team for making it happen. I was working hard on it earlier in the year and it came good, so I'm really pleased to be here."
GT2 WINNERS -- NR 50 AF CORSE FERRARI 430 GT2
Gianmaria Bruni (#50 AF Corse Ferrari 430): "It was a very good race, the team did a good job and my teammates did a fantastic job. I think it was a race without any mistakes, we drove from pole position to the end with no issues, so it was a really, really good race. Jaime, as usual, did a very fantastic job, the same as Luis and Toni. The ten points we had in our pocket at Silverstone, still gives me some pain and we will try to recover now. We are looking forward with four races to go; we are leading the championship, so we will see. It will be an interesting championship and I just want to say thank you to the Michelin guys, to AF Corse, to my teammates and to the people at Ferrari who make a fantastic car."
Jaime Melo (#50 AF Corse Ferrari 430): "I just came to help these guys and I did my job, I tried to be consistent and keep the car on the track. The team has done a good job. This is a race every team and every driver wanted to win and this is my first win in the 24 Hours of Spa so I'm really happy with that. Thank you to Luiz, Toni, Jimmy as well, who have all done a really good job, especially in the rain, Toni was really careful, keeping the car on the track."
Toni Vilander (#50 AF Corse Ferrari 430): "It went quite well in the rain, I saw the wall quite close once but happily no too close. It was a difficult race, basically all the safety cars and also the rain, some other difficult conditions during the night. This is my first win on the fourth time I've done the 24 Hour race and my first win, so this is special. Also the team is something special, with the drivers, the mechanics and the team boss, so it is a really nice feeling. Yesterday was my birthday so I think this is the best thing on the top of the cake. We said we were going to go testing and improve the car and this is what we did. We knew we were missing a little bit, even though we were leading the race at Silverstone. We improved the car and I think we now have the consistency to a maximum effort. I also pleased that Jaime came from the US and having a different Michelin tyre there he said that the car was very good, which also proves that we definitely on the right road. I can't wait to do the next race."
Luis Perez Companc (#50 AF Corse Ferrari 430): "It is really good to be here in Spa and winning Spa with three top drivers. I learnt a lot from them; I'm still learning about the circuit and the races, so this has been a very year for us starting with Silverstone, where we finished a very good race, and then starting with endurance races with Sebring, Le Mans and here. It's been a really good experience and I'm learning a lot from these drivers."
2ND IN GT2 : NR 97 BRIXIA MOTORSPORT PORSCHE 997 GT3 RSR Luigi Lucchini (#97 Brixia Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS): "We are very happy to get this result; this is my first podium in the FIA GT Championship. It is also my first 24 Hours and my first podium in this type of race. I'd like to thank my teammates and the team, who were great."
Bryce Miller (#97 Brixia Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS): "My co-drivers and my team delivered today so I couldn't ask for a better birthday present. It's been a very special experience being here. The energy of the fans and the depth of the talent in the teams is very impressive and there are not many tracks over in the US that you can begin to compare to Spa. So I've very much enjoyed it and the team did a great job. I think I'm going to have to come back."
Marco Holzer (#97 Brixia Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS): "I have to say thank you to the team, they did a fantastic job in the pitstops, and also to my teammates. It is my first year and to be on the podium in the 24 Hour, I'm really happy."
Martin Ragginger (#97 Brixia Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS): "We got Marco in our car this weekend and the whole team worked very well. The 24 Hours is very special and we had no mistakes during this race, Ferrari was just faster than we were. The pace was faster over the 24 Hours and this is why we finished second and next year when we have the chance to race the Ferraris in the 24 Hours we want to be in front."
3RD IN GT2 : NR 56 CRS RACING FERRARI 430 GT2 Andrew Kirkaldy (#56 CRS Racing Ferrari 430): "We had a difficult race but the driver line up was very good and we were quick throughout. We had a few problems at the beginning, the starter motor issue in the middle and a few other things; that's the way it goes in a 24 hour race. I have to say that the guys in the team did a great job when they were problems and they turned the car round very quickly, but that's the nature of it. To finish on the podium is great, it's good for the championship and we are looking forward to the next race."
Rob Bell (#56 CRS Racing Ferrari 430): "It was very eventful throughout, all week really with the weather conditions which were tricky. It's great having four drivers in the car but it does make it difficult when you have changing weather conditions to get everyone time in the car. It worked out well and in the end we were lucky to get the car home. We were quick enough at times and then weather conditions caused some problems, but this is a standard 24 Hour race, you have to expect the unexpected but we brought it home and finished on the podium."
Peter Kox (#56 CRS Racing Ferrari 430): "No, this isn't my first race. Andrew said we had a few teething problems but I drove the last two hours in 5th gear, which was only a small problem! No, it was a fantastic experience to drive this car, the Ferrari 430. I got the invitation and I was happy to do it for them. I think Antonio as well as myself we regard ourselves as being the 3rd and 4th driver to help them get the points and I think we succeeded."
Antonio Garcia (#56 CRS Racing Ferrari 430): "It was hard for everybody, not just for us, everybody was running the same kind of things, the weather and the track conditions. The important thing was to get the car to the end. The mechanics did an awesome job, I think even better than us, that was the point. I wanted to do the three 24 Hour races in a row this year but I haven't and I'll have to try again next year."
G2 WINNERS - 3RD OVERALL - NR111 PHOENIX RACING AUDI R8 LMS
Marcel Fassler: "It was a really good race without any problems on the technical side, just a little bit at the end. A small problem with the gear box, but it wasn't a big issue. Overall the car ran with an incredible speed, especially at night, we could run good lap times with the car; the car was amazing to drive at that time. It was really something that you really like during a 24hr race: a car that is really reliable, team mates who are good and fast and no mistakes, and a team that does a good job at every pit stop, which we got with team Phoenix. To finish third overall is an amazing result for us and it shows that the car is quite competitive."
Marc Basseng: "This is a really good result for my team, for my team mates and me. After the class victory last year on a Porsche and now a class victory in an Audi and the third overall. It's incredible for a car that wasn't made to be a GT3 car; no one will believe that, but it's true. It's only without any weight, it's 1260kg. It runs really well. We can use the advantages of the ABS during the wet and dry conditions. The car was fantastic. The last hour was a little bit of a nightmare, for me especially, and I was afraid that the car would stop before the finish line. But our youngest team mate Henri did a really good job. I'm really happy for all of us as a team."
Alexander Margaritis: "What can I say. The last time I was in a racing car was exactly a year ago here at the 24hrs of Spa and I was very happy to find an opportunity with team Phoenix to have a second chance. There was a wonderful atmosphere all weekend, great team mates, fast team mates, the car was really good to drive which made things easier for me, having been so long out of a racing car. I never thought we could get to third overall with the car, but we did it, after a not so easy end; the last hour was a little difficult for the whole team, but we made it and I'm very happy to be back and I have to than team Phoenix who got me in the car and my team mates who did a great job all through the night, even in the tricky conditions in the wet; I was lucky to only get dry conditions, so it wasn't so bad for me. Overall I'm very happy."
Henri Moser: "It's a great result and I'm really happy to be on this podium today because it means a lot to me. Phoenix gave me the chance to drive in such a competitive car, with such good team mates. It's a strong point in my racing career and I'm really happy I could take the car to the finish and onto the podium. It ran smoothly until the end when I started to have a gearbox issue: I could only use the 5th and 6th gears around the track. I was hoping that the car wouldn't stop before the end. But it ran perfectly the whole race, in wet conditions, in dry conditions, at night it was always competitive and my team mates were also really fast and I thank them for this great result."
GT3 WINNERS : NR 121 MATECH GT RACING FORD GT
Thomas Mutsch: "It's the first 24hr race for Matech and to finish with a victory in the G3 class is incredible. The mechanics did a great job in these last 4 weeks since Oschersleben. We've built and repaired many things in the car that were needed for the 24hr race, especially for the night, and so on. They did a fantastic job. The car had a perfect pace, which we already saw in qualifying with the time we did there. We had no problems at all until the night where we had some small issues. But we still won in the end and improved the pace a bit since early this morning and it went quite smoothly, making it quite easy to win. But I did have a tricky moment because, with a full fuel tank, the car was touching in the rear in Eau Rouge. After 20, 22 hours, there was no carbon left, so the diffuser went loose and we had to fix that, and put a new one in, then we had a small electrical problem in the last 30 minutes where I had to get out of the car to fix that and I was lucky I was able to do that and we could continue. I was in the car for the last two and a half hours and I was taking it very easy and was listening to each noise and keeping an eye on everything, making sure there was nothing strange. But here we are."
Marc Hennerici: "The race was great because we were able to fight with the GT2 the Porsches, but that wasn't possible with the Ferraris. It was good fun to fight with them. I joined Matech in 2008 and we had very bad luck then. I hope this win will end our last two years of bad luck."
Maxime Martin: "It's been a very good weekend for me, although I did have some problems in GT4. In GT3 we won the race, it was very difficult with the track and the conditions. The team did a very good job to prepare the car like this, and we've finished here and won the race! It's fantastic."
Peter Wyss: "This is the third time in 5 participations that I'm on this side of the fence in the media centre and I always consider it the same way. It's a special event for the drivers and the media. To drive with such a good team and a good car. It's incredible what you can do in a 24hr race with the ups and downs for everyone in the team. I'm really proud and happy for Matech racing. Being a Swiss in a Swiss team that won, and that was the first time that I went on the podium with the Swiss national anthem that makes us proud. I really have to thank my great team mates who are real professionals. I might not be able to get their times, but they cannot write my articles. "